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Bringing iPhone apps to the masses: iLike launches custom tools for artists

August 4, 2009 |  6:00 am

Ilike-my-artists Bands on the prowl for a quick and reasonable way to commission a custom iPhone app finally have a place to go. Music discovery service iLike, which gained a large following with its Facebook app, is providing musicians with an automated system for creating and managing their own downloadable iPhone applications.

Mobile apps have been all the rage recently. Some larger artists were quick to buy into "app fever." Death Cab for Cutie, along with dozens of other high-profile bands, have basic programs that closely mirror their websites, offering videos, tour dates and music samples.

Other bands have gone above and beyond. Nine Inch Nails, for example, released an iPhone app that, in addition to the normal media, has a sort of locational Twitter. The additional features make the software more "sticky," providing users with more incentive to return.

Although iLike offers more complicated, custom apps at a premium, the majority of the ones it will churn out are more like the former. They contain song samples, concert info, photos, videos, tweets and Facebook wall posts.

Already, more than 300,000 musical acts use iLike to manage their website profiles or Facebook app pages. The iPhone piece ties in with that system, meaning once a band uploads a tour date, it's blasted out to all three platforms.

Musicians pay $99 up front and, if they decide to charge for it, split the revenue 50-50 with iLike. Want to go the more altruistic route? The company says it reserves the right to place ads in apps for ...

... bands that give away their software free. Most recognizable groups are electing to charge for their apps, an iLike spokeswoman said.

If you don't buy into the idea of filling your iPhone or iPod Touch with a separate app for every band, iLike also announced a much-improved version of its Local Concerts software.

The app currently displays all of the upcoming shows in your area, but has no easy way to filter. Soon, the software will scour the music on your iPod, and give custom alerts based on bands youLike.

This is the first time the company is formally announcing the app to the public. Before, "we didn't feel like it had all the right features to be really proud of it and announce it to the world," said iLike Chief Executive Ali Partovi.

It will also push notifications to your phone even when you don't have the app open, so no matter what you're doing, you will instantly be alerted when No Doubt adds another tour date. (Even if you're walking in spiderwebs.) Additional features include the ability to preview and purchase songs, mark favorite venues and purchase tickets.

The new version was submitted to Apple Inc. about a week ago and will be available as soon as Apple completes the approval process. No timetable was available. While you wait, here's a video demonstration of the new features.

-- Mark Milian

Follow me on Twitter @markmilian.